Houses have been destroyed and people evacuated after a fire broke out close to a popular south of France tourist spot, with the flames still not yet under control, say firefighters.
The blaze began at around midday yesterday (Wednesday, August 23) in the hamlet of Bois, near the commune of Crots, in Hautes-Alpes. The fire still burns over 38 hectares, and one firefighter has been injured.
The hilltop site is very close to the popular tourist spot of Lake Serre-Ponçon (below), and the Pont de Savines, in the Boscodon valley. The man-made lake is the largest in France and a haven for holiday-makers.
Credit: Mike Workman / Shutterstock
A team of almost 200 firefighters are on-site trying to bring the blaze under control. Firefighters from Savines-le-Lac, Embrun, Guillestre, and Gap joined together to tackle the incident, while fire engines from the Alpes-Maritimes are also being used.
Four Canadairs and one Dash water bomber have also been deployed, after Colonel Alain Juge, departmental director of the Hautes-Alpes fire department, appealed for aircraft support. Their work has been made more difficult by the strong winds, Le Dauphiné Libéré reports.
Point de à 18h00 : #FDF commune de #crots [#hautesalpes 05]— Association Prévention et Signalement de FDF (@SignalementFdf) August 23, 2023
L'incendie est toujours actif
⚠️ Le hameau a été évacué, évacuation sur parking de la mairie de Crots ⚠️ Merci de suivre les consignes de la Mairie Crots!
Plusieurs maisons détruites / situation... pic.twitter.com/ENhpW7uugd
The fire - which is thought to have been started by a faulty combine harvester - has already destroyed more than 32 hectares of vegetation, and there is a risk that it could spread further, the fire service SDIS 05 has said.
This is because the Hautes-Alpes are still on orange alert (the second-most severe) for a canicule (heatwave).
The small hamlet of Bois was evacuated, and several houses have been significantly damaged by the flames. The mairie requested that all cars be moved from the area to allow the emergency services better access.
ALERTE INFO - Un important #incendie s'est déclenché sur la commune de #Crots. Plusieurs dizaines d'hectares ont déjà brûlé et des maisons sont en feu. Les pompiers demandent des renforts d'autres départements.— Hugo & Quentin | L'info des ados (@InfoHugoQuentin) August 23, 2023
Veronique Derym (Fb)pic.twitter.com/UF9VjSNk59 pic.twitter.com/fcqz2es3aJ
The local mairie has invited anyone who may be able to help as a volunteer, or offer nearby places to stay for those evacuated, to get in contact on 04 92 43 13 05..